In this interview with Jim Faust, owner of Teton Lighting and Jim Ragan, founder of St. James Lighting , located in Columbia, Mississippi I asked about the tremendous growth of his company, even in a down economy. Jim told me that he attributes the growth of St. James Lighting to the extreme attention to detail when building, what Jim believes is the best quality hand-crafted lighting fixtures in the country. And he proves it! Jim, along with his son Patrick run the day to day operations, which now employs 33 people. It all started back in 1981 when Jim graduated from college and went to work for a local gas company which had a light manufacturing department. Eventually the gas company closed & sold off the light manufacturing division. Jim then decided to start St. James Lighting 10 years ago.
St. James Lighting designs and individually hand-crafts the highest quality copper lanterns and chandeliers on the market today, Jim states. And their growth proves that statement to be true, even when the economy is slow or during "off seasons", St. James is still busy and growing. Jim states as an example of this is that absolutely 100% of the parts used in every lighting fixture are made in the U.S.A. Many companies will use at least some parts that are manufactured and assembled in China. Another example of the extremes they go to for quality is that they use copper brazing rods instead of the cheaper and faster method of soldering, which many companies use. Copper brazing rods have a melting temperature between 1100 & 1500 degrees Fahrenheit, which requires more expensive equipment and a higher skilled craftsman to operate than soldering requires. Where rivets are used, an actual rivet machine is used versus the much cheaper and faster pop rivet method that is a very common practice today among most copper light manufacturers to save time and money, just not quality.
The skills of these craftsman are so developed that only 3 out of 33 employees are even qualified to work on every aspect of the building of a light fixture. They are so busy filling orders these days that they have 5 full time copper braziers. Normally 10-12 people will have a part in building a lantern or chandelier. In house training involves starting workers on the easiest tasks then as training continues they progress to the next level of difficulty. It may take a year or longer before an employee can take on the more difficult tasks.
All St. James lights are certified for both indoor and outdoor use and the lanterns are approved for damp locations. Every lighting fixture is checked, tested and certified by the ETL (Edison Testing Lab) and ANSI (American National Standard Institute). Jim states that a very large percentage of their orders are for custom designed lights. When asked how the designs are developed, Jim says that he and the craftsmen have developed several but that most of the designs actually come from their clients. The client knows what they want for their home or business and can’t find it anywhere so they have St. James Lighting build it. Jim states that there is virtually no limit to what his skilled employees can craft. Check out our Custom Lights Gallery to see what he really means! Copper Lights Gallery
St. James is also continually expanding their 5 finish colors, glass options and lighting options(gas or propane, Edison Base Socket or Candelabra Socket). Lantern Options From the delicate and exquisite design of the Persian St. James Persian Copper Chandelier or Long Island Chandelier St. James Long Island Copper Chandelier to the absolutely bold and bodacious statement maker of a “Castle like” Teardrop Chandelier St. James Tear Drop Copper Chandelier, the quality is truly breathtaking. On the lantern side, the number one sellers like the Magnolia St. James Magnolia Copper Lantern, Biloxi St. James Biloxi Copper Lantern or Brunswick Lanterns St. James Brunswick Copper Lantern are outdoor lighting that is stylish and elegant. This is what makes St. James Lighting so special and has made them one of the most recognized and respected names in the lighting fixture business by Architects, Interior Designers and Home Builders across the country. Visit us at Teton Lighting to see more of these amazing St. James Lights! Copper Light Fixtures